Cooum to be cleaned up?

There have been many statements to this effect in the recent past, including this one by Local Administration Minister M K Stalin. That the Sathya Sai Trust will fund this effort has also been stated before, but there is no clarity to what extent and when. This would be a wonderful achievement and a real gift to the people of Chennai. The river and its banks are a public resource that can be used for the public good for recreation, entertainment and relaxation in many ways if it is cleaned. The challenge, of course, is in keeping it clean, for which there will have to be a concerted effort to educate the administration and the public on the standards to be maintained. The bane of our rivers has been the outlets for untreated, raw sewage straight into them, as well as the dumping of garbage and all kinds of waste such as plastic bags. This will have to be stopped, and its easier said than done. So cleaning up the Cooum goes well beyond the physical cleaning up of the river and its banks to an ongoing effort to stop the sewage and garbage being dumped into the river. Can it be done? If there is the political will, and if the government can win the support of the people by sharing with them its plans for the river as a parkland and recreational area, I don’t see why not. The government has begun to move on its stated intent of resettling people along the banks of the rivers as part of its efforts to clean them up. So let’s hope this will also be done systematically.

3 Comments so far

  1. suppamani (unregistered) on September 21st, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

    Nowadays this blog has become a miniature Hindu by giving the synonips of the news itmes pubished in Hindu on the same day.

  2. Sunil (unregistered) on September 22nd, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

    The Cooum River that is now the bane of Chennai can be turned into the boon of Chennai only through sustained efforts from all sections of the society and the government. Let us hope that this time, the cleaning drive succeeds.

  3. Pisipati Sriram (unregistered) on September 26th, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

    One can sense the bad and foul smell of Cooum even as the train reaches Tondiayarpet and Basin Bridge stations from upcountry. The nasal discomfort lingers for quite a long time. If and when this foulest smelling drain, once a navigational Buckingham canal, is cleaned, it would be a red letter day in the history of Chennai.

    It is not easy and enough to clean this atrocious drain, it needs sustained efforts to maintain it afterwards. Cleanliness, both personal and surroundings, should come from within, by education and by civic awareness.

    In many areas in Chennai, one comes across hopeless civic conditions – spitting paan on roadside walls, throwing litter everywhere and anywhere, washing vessels, clothes and binning trade and domestic trash in and around corporation bins, hanging ugly banners everywhere etc. So long as this general awareness of personal cleanlines and surroundings is missing, the city continues to stink – barring some sanitised pockets where VIPs stay. Littering roads is bot a birth right, a very bad habit.

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